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USWNT way-too-early Olympic squad predictions: Megan Rapinoe and Alex Morgan give way to new generation

The United States women’s national team bowed out at the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup on Sunday, which means it’s time to shift focus. After a scoreless draw through extra time, Sweden eliminated the USWNT on penalties, resulting in a historic round of 16 exit. It was the first time the team had their World Cup journey end before the semifinals. 

As they attempt to come back stronger, the next year will include typical international windows, the 2024 Concacaf W Gold Cup, and the 2024 Summer Olympics in Paris. The United States have already qualified for the Gold Cup and Olympic Games when they qualified for the World Cup and won the 2022 Concacaf W Championship. The team must now look ahead, and while there has been no official contract decision made on head coach Vlatko Andonovski, 2024 will be full of international competition.

So who could make that Olympic roster? If the World Cup is any indication, some veterans will make their exits, and players that introduced themselves will be part of the plan moving forward. It seems likely that this World Cup will be the end of the road for Megan Rapinoe at 38 years old, and I think it’s probably time for the 34-year-old Alex Morgan to join her to make room for a new generation up top. So let’s make some early predictions:

Way too early USWNT Olympic roster prediction

Goalkeepers Casey Murphy, Alyssa Naeher

The Olympics are a quick turnaround from the World Cup. If Naeher and Murphy have been considered the one-two combo at the position for some time, they will likely be the tandem chosen for Paris. Naeher had an early exit during the Tokyo Games when she was subbed out in the semifinal against Canada with a knee injury and might want another crack at Olympic glory.

Defenders (6): Tierna Davidson, Crystal Dunn, Emily Fox, Naomi Girma, Sofia Huerta, Emily Sonnett

Becky Sauerbrunn missed out on the World Cup with a foot injury and Kelly O’Hara was the veteran elected to provide the leadership. She may or may have not played her final international tournament for the team, and the Olympics might be the time to have less experienced players carry the torch now. Davidson just missed out on the World Cup roster, and Alana Cook was only one of three players who didn’t play any minutes at the tournament so she may not be in the plans. Girma is the lock at center back at this point, but the other position is still wide open. Sonnett’s versatility and lights-out round-of-16 performance will keep her on the roster as a defender. 

Midfielders (5): Savannah DeMelo, Lindsey Horan, Rose Lavelle, Andi Sullivan, Catarina Macario

DeMelo’s surprise inclusion on the World Cup roster and consecutive starts in the group stage should propel her in the program’s future. Expect Lavelle back if healthy (if not, Kristie Mewis returns), and Sullivan back in the mix after Julie Ertz’s World Cup exit interview alluded to it possibly being her last time wearing the U.S. crest. Macario missed out on the World Cup after a lengthy ACL rehab but was an obvious part of World Cup plans before the injury. She’s on a new contract with Chelsea FC. Her performances in Europe will be rated alongside Horan in France. 

Forwards (5): Trinity Rodman, Sophia Smith, Jaedyn Shaw, Lynn Williams, Mallory Swanson

The Smith and Rodman origin story begins now. They were billed as the top World Cup prospects to keep an eye on and will be motivated by the early exit. Swanson missed out on the World Cup just months ahead of the roster being named with a torn patella tendon injury. She will be on the radar as she navigates rehab. Williams was a game-changer for the team and will be back. 

During the World Cup, the forward lines were active but the finishing evaporated as the tournament went on. If the Olympics are viewed as an opportunity to rebuild, it’s time for Shaw to step into senior-level camps and build with the squad. Smith’s ability to play as a nine, and even Macario’s ability to take on the role and play higher means Morgan’s time at this level might start winding down.

Alternates (4): Aubrey Kingsbury, Alana Cook, Ashley Sanchez, Alyssa Thompson

The three World Cup players who didn’t play any minutes, unfortunately, miss out and get included here. Thompson did see a late second-half appearance against Vietnam, but after the run the team had, they may scale back the expectations of the 18-year-old.



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